Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice’s Wife Reportedly Make Fortune In Law Firm Referrals In Addition To Court Salary

image-1855There is an astonishing story coming from Pennsylvania where the wife of Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery appears to not only pull a salary as his chief judicial aide but has reportedly pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars in referral fees from law firms who appear before her husband. In just one such referral fee, Lise Rapaport, received $821,000.

It is surprising enough to learn that Justice McCaffery pays his own wife a public salary as his top aide. However, even though she reportedly holds this state judicial job, she is allowed to continue to receive huge amounts of money from firms on the side without prior disclosure.

What I find most surprising is that this type of thing is not clearly prohibited. Indeed, there is a division among experts as to whether she had to disclose the money. The nepotism in the judicial job should raise some issues. Then there is the outside income from firms doing business before the court.

In all Rapaport has received 18 payments as referral fees from firms.

Putting aside an actual conflict of interest, the appearance of a conflict is tremendous.

McCaffery has reportedly ruled on 11 Supreme Court cases in which some of the firms were participants. No one allegedly revealed the payments in some cases.

This is not Rapaport’s first controversy regarding special treatment. News reports previously suggested that she was given a pass on a traffic matter after being charged with driving the wrong way down a street.

Notably, none of the articles that I have read on this controversy suggest that there is any concern over a justice hiring his own wife as an aide. I am not sure why such hiring of immediate family members is not prohibited under nepotism rules.

What do you think?

Source: Philly

33 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice’s Wife Reportedly Make Fortune In Law Firm Referrals In Addition To Court Salary”

  1. I believe that there is some referral as to how close a relative can be hired in the same department, don’t quote me but something like 3rd generation or 3 times removed. It would be interesting to see how many relatives are taking advantage of the people in the local counties.

  2. Do you think anyone reported it to the Public Integrity Component of DOJ which claims to have exclusive jurisdiction to pursue criminal charges?

  3. How come so many of these politicians shave their heads these days. There was a photo of the Gov of FL in the Economist this week and he looks like some schmuck who sells diapers. Same with Judge so and so here. It takes a thief to marry a thief. Uncle Clarence is the same. Wifeypoo out there wrangling dollars outta the litigants.

  4. State Penn. Did she graduate from law school at State Penn? Is smiling Jack Elliot in the photo going to get sued for corruption by one of the parites to a lawsuit where he ruled against the party and wifeypoo got paid?

  5. When I read stories like this I feel a little bit better about living in Chicago.

  6. Kaysievering put in place legislation since the idea of corruption, integrity, morality seems to be lost on a lot of these folk.
    Sadly, probablty

  7. leejcaroll

    If you were a state rep in PA, what would you propose to reduce or prevent corruption?

    Do you think that other states might have comparable corruption rates but it just hasn’t been exposed yet?

  8. Kay, I would like to answer your question by saying Toomey and Corbett but that would be too easy.

  9. Rafflaw, Sorry.
    That is when a resident or another doctor does the surgery instead of the person who is supposed to be doing it. In this case his son was across town having surgery while I was in the OR and the reports of the resident and the neurosurgeon did not jibe, (and were also at odds with the neurosurgeon who had been in the same brain area a year before this guy and the neurosurg who was in the same area a year later.

  10. Didn’t Professor Turley report just recently on a PA judge who employed her sister as an office manager and the two of them violated campaign laws by working on the judge’s reelection campaign during regular hours and from the judge’s office? And PA was the same state where the judges were sending teens to private detention facilities in return for bribes….

    Is there anything that would make PA more corrupt than any other state or are the laws and regulations basically the same?

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